Blueberry Frangipane

3am and I’m sitting in an armchair next to Little Monkey’s hospital bed when he broke his leg. The armchair was my bed for the duration, swamped by blankets I’d made a nest for myself so I could keep one eye closed for sleep and one eye watching carefully over the little fella as he slept.

In my hand however was a the most delicious thing I had encountered for quite a while. Not hospital food, but a frangipane fruit tart. Brought in earlier, by my very thoughtful sister from Brasserie Bread.

I’m not sure whether it was the fact that I was eating it at 3am that made it delicious, or it really was the best darn tasting tart I had ever tasted. Either way, it was superb and I couldn’t get enough of it. Fast forward 2 months, and that hopsital stay is happily a distant crappy foggy memory, but that tart….

That tart, was the kind of tart that makes you sit back, and let those taste buds reminisce. I put the tart in my, will have to give that a crack one day… thought pile and then went about my business. Until Amy at Tiny Tea Room posted on a pastry-less almond Pear Tart. Now with Amy’s stunning photography I’m sure she could make a white bread cheese sandwich appealing, but non-the less that sweet almondy goodness was brought back to my mind, front and centre…. and no pastry? Even quicker!

I wanted not crazy sweet, vanilla-y tones, and a gritty type texture….oh and easy. Let’s play…

Blueberry Frangipane

150gms softened butter

1/2 cup raw sugar

2 tsp vanilla essence

3 eggs

150gms almond meal* (1 1/2 cups)

100gms course semolina (1/2 cup)

125gms blueberries

Cream butter and sugar together, Add the vanilla and eggs. Stir through almond meal and semolina. Blueberries on top. Bake in a greased, floured tin (approx 23cm square) at 180C for about 30minutes or until light golden.

* I lightly toasted whole almonds, skin on, and then blitzed them in the blender to make the almond meal.

Verdict? It didn’t quite match that 3am frangipane fruit tart but I was happy with it. Super easy, and really quick. I think this one might become a regular favourite. You can easily up the sugar if you want it sweeter, and swap the blueberries for other seasonal fruit.

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an unattractive tasty plum cake

I knew in my mind the sort of cake I wanted to make. Not too sweet, using half plums, and perhaps a little almond meal in there. Could  I find a recipe within my collection that was even remotely like it, no. Not a whisker. I didn’t want to trawl the internet, so it was back to hack baking. I’m certainly no stranger there.

Springform pan greased and lined with parchment paper on the bottom. Cutting 5 plums in half, lining them up round side down and then sprinkled with a tablespoon of sugar.

In a mixing bowl add,

150gms softened butter

1 cup raw sugar (approx 140gms)

cream together, add

2 beaten eggs

1 tps cinnamon

1 cup natural yogurt (approx 250mls)

1 cup almond meal (approx 100gms)

1 cup s/r flour (approx 150gms)

Spoon mixture on top of plum halves and bake at 180C for approximately 1hour 15mins.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room. It doesn’t look pretty. It really doesn’t. I couldn’t photograph its prettier angle, as there was no prettier angle. The food stylist was clearly out for a long lunch. It is what it is, an unattractive tasty plum cake.

That’s ok though, these things happen in every day cooking.

* Edit. I forgot one litttttle thing. I flipped the cake. So the bottom is now on the top. If you would like to see how an unflipped cake looks, read on down in the comments and you will see Keri’s superb looking cake she made.

M’hanncha

M’hanncha. A traditional Moroccan dessert, meaning “the snake”. I’m not sure I quite got to the snake… but I gave it a red hot go.

I had seen Jamie Oliver make this dessert on his latest TV series and thought it looked delicious. After I was given his lovely cookbook as a present a little while ago, the delicious recipe again beckoned to me. Whispering its moroccan song from the books pages. The recipe needed to be made. Now I just needed a kitchen with more bench space than mine (you need two metres of rolling room). A visit to my mums kitchen and I had the bench space I needed.

Time to get cracking.

Mixture looks good, and it comes to the pastry part and rolling….oophh!

He made it look so easy! Was my pastry no good? Was I too slow? Were my arms too Neanderthal? Was my technique decidedly lacking when it came to putting the thing in the tin?… Probably yes to all the above. After much huffing, puffing and sighing, it was plonked in the oven and resigned myself to the fact it wasn’t going to be the standout dish I had hoped for.

However…It was delicious!

Didn’t look a thing like the book. Not a tooting thing, but the taste got me by. Thanks Jamie.